Tag: Andy Blankenbuehler

Review: Hamilton (Broadway in Chicago)

Miguel Cervantes stars as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Broadway Chicago          
      
  

Hamilton
 
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda 
PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe (map) 
Open Run  |  tix: $65-$400  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

October 25, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Broadway in Chicago)

Ryan Williams stars as Pharoah in Broadway in Chicago's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, directed by Andy Blankenbuehler. (photo credit: Daniel A. Swalec)        
      
Joseph and the Amazing
    Technicolor Dreamcoat

By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice  
Directed by Andy Blankenbuehler
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru April 6  |  tickets: $18-$115   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

March 22, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Bring It On (Broadway in Chicago)

The cast of Broadway in Chicago's "Bring It On The Musical", directed by Andy Blandenbuehler. (photo credit: Michael Lamont)       
      
Bring It On 

Written by Tom Kitt, Amanda Green,
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeff Whitty 
Directed by Andy Blankenbuehler
at Cadillac Palace, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru March 25  |  tickets: $18-$85   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

March 10, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: In The Heights (Broadway in Chicago)

IN THE HEIGHTS North American Tour; North American Tour Cast (c) John Daughtry, 2011       
      
In the Heights 

Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda 
Book by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Directed by Thomas Kail
Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph (map)
thru Jan 15  |  tickets: $25-$75   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
         
        Read entire review
     

January 12, 2012 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: In the Heights

Latin flavored, hip-hop musical speaks to any community

intheheights06

Broadway in Chicago presents:

In The Heights

Book by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Music and Lyrics by
Lin Manuel-Miranda
Choreography by
Andy Blankenbuehler
thru January 3rd (ticket info)

Review by Oliver Sava

intheheights01 Lin Manuel-Miranda‘s Tony-award winning music and lyrics for In The Heights are filled with so much passion and life that it would be difficult for any company to turn in low energy performances. The national tour of the 2008 Tony award winner for Best Musical finally arrives in Chicago for a limited two week run, and while the setting may be New York City’s Washington Heights, the show tells a story that will resonate with denizens of any neighborhood. The Latin influence of Miranda’s score, combined with hip-hop beats and raps, creates a beautifully layered musical mosaic with wonderful versatility. Miranda also has a great talent for taking classical musical theater techniques and giving them a fresh, modern flair. The opening number seamlessly introduced characters and their relationship without becoming too expository, a feat accomplished by shifting musical themes.

Usnavi (Kyle Beltran), the musical’s protagonist, primarily resides musically in the world of hip hop and rap. The play’s older characters, Abuela (Claudia Santora) and Kevin (Daniel Bolero) and Camila Rosario (Natalie Toro), in Latin folk, and the women of the Unisex Salon, Daniela (Isabel Santiago) and Carla (Genny Lis Padilla), in Salsa. Benny (Rogelio Douglas Jr.), the only non-Hispanic character of the show, is accompanied by Reggaeton beats, and the female love interests Vanessa (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer) and Nina (Arielle Jacobs) bring the flavors of Latin pop. The music brings definition to the characters, making the actors’ jobs much easier. The tightness of the entire team, including the rich book by Quiara Alegria Hudes, brings so many layers to the world of the play.

Nobody soars more than Jacobs as the conflicted, guilt-filled Nina, back home with 20the news that Washington Heights’ sure-fire success is now a college dropout. Her vocals are phenomenal and they blend beautifully with Douglas Jr.’s for their numerous duets. Andy Blankenbuehler‘s choreography finds the perfect balance of dance styles to match the variety of the musical score, combining the hard hitting pops and locks of hip-hop with the smoothness of Latin ballroom choreography. The visual images are stunning, and the unique rhythm of the movement makes the dance sequences unpredictable and completely enthralling.

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In The Heights was a labor of love for the original Broadway cast, performing that rare feat of transferring an original musical from Off-Broadway to Great White Way success, but how can someone step into a role that is so defined by the actor that originated it? The main character in particular has become so associated with Miranda that it is difficult to imagine anyone that could step in the composer-actor’s shoes, yet Beltran does a more than serviceable job.  The best thing that can be said about the actors is that they have found their homes in this world, and that is what lies at the heart of In The Heights: home. The connection between the characters and their neighborhood is what creates the most dramatic, emotional events of the play, and the actors have fallen into a world of rusty fire escapes and melting Piragua on their fingertips completely.

In The Heights may be a crowd-pleasing combination of musical theater, big dance numbers and hip music and belted ballads, but it’s also very good musical theater. It’s not perfection, and sometimes the energy on stage could be even more explosive, but it has a big heart that shows a love for its musical predecessors. The musical is a love letter to community and to the hundreds of stories the past holds, whether on a street corner or Puerta Plata, and the touring company successfully makes their home our home.

Rating: ★★★

 

December 21, 2009 | 2 Comments More